Elia Viviani is keen to draw a line under a winless year, stating his focus is on returning to his best and securing wins for his Cofidis team in 2021.
The Italian made a high-profile transfer from Deceuninck-QuickStep to Cofidis ahead of the 2020 season, and much was expected of a man who has stage wins at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia under his belt.
However, 2020 did not play out as he had envisaged as Viviani failed to secure any wins despite riding at the Tour and the Giro.
To rub salt into the 31-year-old’s wounds, the man who replaced him at Deceuninck-QuickStep, Sam Bennett, won two stages at the Tour, the green points jersey and a stage at the Vuelta a Espana.
“I won three races even when I was a neo-pro, so it’s natural to be disappointed," Viviani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
I’ll admit I was never at my very best. Otherwise, despite the problems, I would have won at least once. I think it’s important to analyse everything that didn’t work out, starting from one bottom line: I thought it’d be easy to recreate a sprint group around me but it wasn’t.
“Not winning meant I lived the season without the confidence I needed. We couldn't find a specific reason for why things didn’t work out. But if you're not mentally focused in cycling then things get harder and harder.”
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While happy to accept a portion of the blame for his failure to cross the line first in any race in 2020, Viviani said the team need to hold their hands up as well.
“I think we have to share the responsibility 50-50. I’m ready to accept my part,” he said.
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Fabio Sabatini made the move to Cofidis with Viviani, and the latter was at pains to point out that his fellow countryman and trusted lead-out rider should be an automatic selection in the team.
“To create a good sprint group, you’ve got to always race together,” he said. “Sabatini should have been a certainty, not a question mark. His role can’t be put in doubt because we work together."
Viviani wants to shift focus to 2021, and victories are his sole focus.
“I don’t want another season like this one,” he said. “My goal for 2021 is plain and simple: to win. I’m not bothered which race, it can be any race we ride. I won't have any specific goals in 2021.
I’ll start at my very best and stay there so I can be successful again.